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Frequently Asked Questions

Overview | Business Eligibility | Eligible Use of Funds | Application Process | Selection Process | Receiving Grant Funds

Overview

Download the program guide here.

What is the Small Business & Nonprofit Grant Program?

Sacramento County has received funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to support economic response and recovery efforts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The intent of the Small Business & Nonprofit Grant Program (Program) is to provide relief to small business and nonprofit organizations that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the related health and safety restrictions.

How much funding is available through the Small Business & Nonprofit Grant Program?

The Program will provide $7.5 million in grants to eligible small business and nonprofit organizations. Eligible applicants may qualify for grants of $10,000 each in one-time direct financial assistance. This is a grant program, not a loan, so funds will not need to be paid back.

Business Eligibility

How do I know if my business is eligible for funding?

A small business or nonprofit organization (business) is required to satisfy all of the following criteria to be eligible to receive a grant:

  • Operates from a commercial location within the unincorporated Sacramento County. Check your address.
  • In operation as of March 1, 2020, is open at the date of grant application submission, and intends to remain open.
  • Active business license issued by Sacramento County.
  • Independently owned and operated.
  • Employed between 1 and 25 full-time equivalent employees as of March 1, 2020.
  • Earned between $1,000 and $2.5 million in annual gross revenue on 2020 tax return.
  • Experienced financial impacts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related health and safety restrictions.
  • For Nonprofits Only: Must have a tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code, be in a valid secretary of state status and provide the majority of their services to Sacramento County residents.
  • For Small Businesses Only: Small Business means; sole proprietors, independent contractors, 1099 workers, and/or a registered “for-profit” business entity (e.g., C-corporations, S-corporations, limited liability company, partnership).

How do I know if my business activities are not eligible?
The following businesses are not eligible to apply for the Program:

  • Home-based businesses (except those open to the public for normal business operations. IE: licensed child care centers).
  • Non-profit organizations not registered as either a 501(c)(3).
  • Government entities or elected official offices.
  • Businesses primarily engaged in political or lobbying activities (regardless of whether such entities qualify as a 501(c)(3)).
  • Churches and other religious institutions (regardless of whether such entities qualify as a 501(c)(3)).
  • Passive businesses, investment companies, and investors who file a Schedule E on their personal tax returns. These include rental properties or any business in which the owner does not actively participate.
  • Real estate agents and independent brokers.
  • Financial businesses primarily engaged in lending, such as banks, finance companies, and factoring companies.
  • Pyramid sale distribution plans and multi-level marketing businesses.
  • Businesses deriving more than one-third of gross annual revenue from legal gambling activities.
  • Speculative businesses.
  • Liquor stores, smoke shops, massage parlors, check cashing.
  • Businesses that restrict patronage for any reason other than capacity.
  • Businesses engaged in any illegal activity under California and/or federal law.
  • Businesses of a prurient sexual nature, including businesses which present live performances of a prurient sexual nature and businesses which derive directly or indirectly more than de minimis gross revenue through the sale of products or services, or the presentation of any depictions or displays, of a prurient sexual nature.
  • Businesses with an owner who is incarcerated, on probation, on parole, or has been indicted for a felony or a crime of moral turpitude.
  • Businesses with a 20% or greater ownership interest with: tax liens without a repayment plan in place; planning to file for bankruptcy or currently involved in bankruptcy proceedings; or current or pending legal claims or lawsuits.
  • Multiple business entities, locations, etc. are not eligible for multiple grants and are only allowed to apply once.
  • Businesses and 501(c)(3) charitable arms of a business that have already received an ARPA grant from the County.

Can I apply if I received funds from another County grant program?
No, you may not apply if you have already received ARPA funds from another grant program through Sacramento County.

Can I apply if I received funds from another grant program, not funded through the County?
Yes, you may apply if you received funds from a grant program not funded through Sacramento County’s ARPA allocation. IE: You may qualify if you received a federal Paycheck Protection Program Grant. However, funds cannot be used to cover the same expenses for the same period that were covered by the other grant funds.

Can I apply if I received funds from the California Relief Small Business COVID-19 Grant Program or the Sacramento County Microbusiness Grant Program?
Yes, you may apply if you received funds from either of these State funded grant programs.

I own/operate more than one business. Am I allowed to submit an application for each business I own if they meet the qualifications?
No, you may only apply one time even if you own, co-own, or operate multiple businesses. Only one business will be eligible.

I have multiple locations for a single business, which address should I use?
Please select what you might consider the “primary” business location locate in the unincorporated County. Your application answers and financial information must pertain only to any locations in the unincorporated Sacramento County.

What if my nonprofit does not have a business license?
Sacramento County requires each business to possess an active business license. This requirement extends to nonprofits as well as for profit businesses.

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to apply?
No, you do not need to be a U.S. citizen to apply.

 

Eligible Use of Funds

If my business receives a grant, what can I use the money for? What can’t I use the money for?
Grants funds for this Program may be used to reimburse the business for costs related to the negative impacts of COVID-19. Expenses must be documented and have been incurred between March 3, 2020 and the date of the grant application. The following expenses are eligible:

  • General business operations
  • Payroll expenses
  • Utilities (e.g., commercial electric or gas bills, internet, etc.)
  • Supplier payments
  • Commercial rent or mortgage payments for business
  • Repairs and expenses related to theft/vandalism/property damage
  • Outdoor improvements
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and/or sanitation supplies and equipment
  • Costs of compliance with county, state, or federal requirements or recommendations
  • Technical assistance, counseling, or other services to assist with business planning

There are clear limitations to the use of ARPA funds. Grant funds for this Program may not be used for:

  • The expansion of future business activities/projects
  • Personal uses
  • Costs already covered by a previous grant
  • Costs or uses to carry on propaganda, influence legislation, political campaigns or elections
  • Damages covered by insurance
  • Reimbursement to donors for donated items or services
  • Workforce bonuses or severance pay
  • Legal settlements or judgments
  • Property Taxes
  • Deposits into pension funds or reserve accounts
  • Additional use that is deemed ineligible by the U.S. Treasury

Do I have to pay the money back, like a loan?
No. The funds you receive are a grant, not a loan, and do not need to be paid back. However, grant recipients will be required to attest to their intent to use grant funding for eligible uses under the Program. Grant recipients are subject to an audit administered by the County to verify that grant funding was spent on eligible expenses.

Application Process

When does the application open?
The application period opens on July 5, 2022 at 8am PST.

What’s the deadline to apply?
The application deadline is August 31, 2022 at 5:00pm PST. Incomplete applications will NOT be accepted. There will be no exceptions.

How do I apply?
Complete the Pre-App Check to determine your eligibility for this Program. If your business meets the eligibility requirements, you will be redirected to the “Apply Now” application link. If your business does not meet all of these eligibility requirements, your business does not qualify for this Program and you will be redirected to additional resources.

Download the Application Portal Instructions here.

How can I get help with my application?
If you need assistance, contact us at 833-391-1919 or by clicking here.

What documentation will I need to submit my application?
For an application to be considered for this Program, the following documents must be submitted:

  • Government-issued photo ID
  • Business license or certificate from Sacramento County.
  • 2020 Tax Return (examples of acceptable tax documentation: Schedule C, Form 1065 & Schedule K-1, Form 1120, Form 1120-S, Form 990, etc.)
  • Completed Payee Data Record Form (Available in application)
  • Signed Self-Certification Form (Available in application)

Why do I need to fill out a Sacramento County Payee Data Record Form?
The County is required to report grant funding information to the United States Treasury at the end of the year, which is done using a Payee Data Record Form. This form is required in lieu of IRS W-9 when doing business with the Sacramento County.

What is an EIN or TIN #?
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number (TIN) and is used to identify a business/nonprofit entity. Generally, businesses and nonprofits need an EIN. Like a Social Security number, the EIN number is nine digits long and assigned by the federal government. The IRS uses the number to identify taxpayers who are required to file various business and nonprofit tax returns.

Why are you asking for my business tax return?
Your 2020 tax return allows us to verify that your business is active in Sacramento County; meets the eligibility requirements for revenue; practices sound financial management; and is financially viable.

What is my Annual Gross Revenue?
Gross Revenue is determined based on the IRS tax form definition of “Gross Sales” (less any returns and allowances) as reported on:

  • Line 1.c. on both the 1120 (corporate return) or 1120S (S-Corp return);
  • Line 3 on IRS Schedule C for single member LLCs and sole proprietorships;
  • Line 1.c. on Form 1065, for partnerships;
  • Line 1.c. and Line 2 on Form Schedule F for farming businesses; and
  • Line 12 on Form 990 for nonprofits.
  • Schedule E is not eligible.

Do I have to submit documentation to verify ownership? Do multi-owner companies have to submit for one owner or all?
An application must be submitted by the majority owner of the business. Applicants will need to certify that the application is being submitted on behalf of the applicant by the majority owner of the applicant as a condition to receiving the grant. Only one business owner can apply.

How do I upload the required documents?
When you get to the upload part of the application, you can search your device for the document you need, and then upload it.

Do I need to submit all the documents? What if I don’t have all the documents that I need to apply?
You must submit ALL the required documents. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

What if I accidentally made a mistake or entered incorrect information on my application?
You can save and edit your application until you submit it. You do not need to complete it all in one sitting. Please take your time on your application and do not submit it until you are sure it is complete and correct.

Do applicants receive a confirmation that they submitted their application?
Yes, you will receive a confirmation email upon submission of your application. 

How do I check the status of my application?
To check the status of your application, you can go to gotomygrants.com and login into your Amplifund account with the User Name and Password you created.  An Applications screen will appear showing the Application Name and Submission Status of your application.  It will say “Submitted” or “Unsubmitted”.  If it is unsubmitted, you can click on the Application Name and complete your application.

Do I have to fill out the application online? Can I submit my application via mail or in person?
All applications must be filled out online. No physical applications will be accepted. If you need help accessing a computer with Internet access, please visit your local library for free access.

I am trying to complete my application on AmpliFund but it will not let me proceed past the Project Information page even though I entered all of the required information.
This will occur when using an internet browser that AmpliFund does not support. AmpliFund does not support mobile devices or Safari on a Mac. Please use a current version of Chrome or Firefox.

What is the definition of a full-time equivalent employee (FTE)?
The County defines a Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) employee as an employee who regularly works at least 2,080 hours per year. Part-time employees can be considered a FTE employee for purposes of this program. For example, two part-time employees who regularly work 1,040 hours per year can be converted to one FTE and identified as one FTE in the program application.

Selection Process

How will applications be selected to receive funding?
Applications will be reviewed by staff for completeness and eligibility between August 31, 2022 through September 1 2022.

If there are more applications than available funding, grants recipients will be selected through a randomized selection process.

How will I be contacted or know if I will receive a grant?
You will be notified by the email you identify on your application.

Will I be contacted if I do not receive a grant?
Yes, you will be notified by email whether or not you receive a grant.

When will grant award notifications be sent out?
Grant award notifications are anticipated to go out by September 2022.

Receiving Grant Funds

If I am selected to receive a grant, how much money will I get?
A one-time $10,000 grant.

How will I receive funds?
Funds will be disbursed by paper check through the County payment management system and will be sent to the mailing address on your Sacramento County Payee Data Record Form.

When can I expect to receive funds if awarded?
Checks will be distributed beginning in September 2022.

Am I required to set up a new bank account specifically for these funds?
No.

Does anything need to be repaid?
No, these grants do not need to be repaid. However, grant recipients will be required to attest to their intent to use grant funding for eligible uses under the Program. Grant recipients are subject to an audit administered by the County to verify that grant funding was spent on eligible expenses.

Is my business taxed on this grant?
Sacramento County cannot provide tax advice to those who receive payments. Please consult with personal tax advisors for any questions regarding tax liability for these payments. Any taxes associated with accepting or using the grant funds are the responsibility of the grant recipient.

Sacramento County’s small businesses and nonprofits are a critical part of this community. We invite you to access grant funding to support in the recovery of your valued organization’s operations.

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